Monday 5th July 2010 by J. Heppell
After a very early flight from Stansted on Monday, students from Years 9 and 10 arrived to find Berlin enjoying a heatwave. The group made the most of the mid-morning arrival to start sightseeing, partly by coach, partly on foot with lunch in the spectacular arcade of Potsdamer Platz. It was a long day but a rewarding one and all slept well in the very comfortable Jugendhotel.
Tuesday took us out of the capital for an educational visit to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, a grim reminder of an episode in Germany's history. The mood lightened in the afternoon with visits to the Technical Museum and the nearby Science Museum, both offering excellent hands-on learning and lightened still further with an evening's bowling, reached on the underground.
Wednesday took us out again on foot to some of the major sights, including Checkpoint Charlie and the new Topographie des Terrors exhibitions and artworks, bringing home again just how rich in history Berlin is. Lunch was taken in the Tiergarten after a visit to the Reichstag, where Germany's Federal presidential election was taking place. A boat trip along the River Spree was a chance to cool down before a visit to the cinema to see Shrek in 3-D on Germany's largest cinema screen.
On our last full day in the city we spent time in the spectacular Berlin Zoo, one of the world's finest, and still with the benefit of splendid sunny weather. An evening watching a film back at the accommodation rounded off the day ready for an early night and an early flight home on Friday.
We all became well versed in the capital's history and culture and experts on negotiating the underground. Better still, most Berliners managed to refrain from mentioning a certain recent World Cup football result.